CS Sealey

New Zealand-based sub-editor, writer and author

Death Note

The human who uses this note can neither go to Heaven nor Hell.

Disclaimer: I’ve only watched the anime, not read the manga.

There’s something truly compelling about Death Note. I’ve watched a few good series of anime in my time but nothing surpasses this in its ability to get the viewer invested in both ‘good’ and ‘evil’ characters. The entire series is a blur of moral greys, which gets you thinking, and I absolutely love it!

Set in Japan, the story of Death Note revolves around two main characters, both teenage geniuses. Light Yagami is a brilliant student with hopes to become a detective like his father. One day, while in class at school, he sees a book fall from the sky. His interest piqued, he goes to investigate at the end of the day and finds the book. Inside, the book details the rules of its usage, explaining it is a tome capable of killing people simply by writing names down in its pages. Thinking this is a joke but still keen to try it out, Light writes down the name of a criminal he sees on TV. True to the book’s claim, the criminal dies. Eager to use the book for good, Light begins systematically writing down names of people who have escaped justice and who pose an immediate threat to good people.

However, this attracts the attention of the police. Unable to solve this strange serial killer case on their own, they bring in an even stranger man—codename L, known to his colleagues as Ryūzaki—a famous detective, who tries to track down who is responsible for the deaths and how he does it.

Without giving too much of the amazing plot away, Light and Ryūzaki go head to head in a series of showdowns that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The presence of Shinigami (Gods of Death) Ryuk and Rem hype up the tension even more.

If you want to delve into the realm of serious anime and you’re of a responsible age, I’d highly recommend watching this first. However, you may then find it hard to find something as interesting to watch next. Ah, well. First World problems.

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